DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomore Griffin Conine launched a three-run homer and four Blue Devil pitchers combined to shut out the Camels in Duke's 9-0 victory over Campbell Tuesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Up 2-0 in the second, Conine ripped a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall. His 13th long ball of the season extended the Duke (24-23) lead, 5-0. Conine finished the day 2-for-3 with four RBI, two runs and a walk. The Blue Devils tacked on a fifth-inning tally before putting the game out of reach with a three-run sixth.
The cushion was more than ample for the Blue Devil pitching staff as freshman Adam Laskey (4-3), senior Karl Blum, junior Chris McGrath and senior Kevin Lewallyn combined to allow just two singles in Duke's first shutout since March 31.
Laskey needed 30 pitches to retire all nine Camels he faced. Blum and McGrath covered the next three frames before Lewallyn yielded just one hit the final three to earn the save.
“That was absolutely mission accomplished,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “We wanted to get Adam [Laskey] to 30 pitches. Coach Pete Maki and I had talked about if we got him to 20 pitches in the first two innings, we'd let him go a third. The guys behind him came in and grinded it out.”
Following a nine-day layoff, Duke wasted little time igniting the offense. Leadoff hitter Jimmy Herron reached on an error before Zack Kone singled and Conine walked to load the bases. Junior Jack Labosky lifted a sac fly to start the scoring and classmate Michael Smiciklas notched an RBI base hit to give the Blue Devils the early 2-0 advantage.
Campbell starter Phil Stokes (0-1) looked to escape unscathed in the second after hitting Chris Proctor and walking Herron. Conine's home run eradicated that hope and established a 5-0 margin through two.
Stokes covered 3.2 innings in the loss, allowing five runs – four earned – on four hits and two walks. He struck out four.
The score remained the same until an Erikson Nichols' two-out RBI single in the fifth.
Each of the first three Blue Devil batters in the sixth reached and scored against Campbell reliever Tyson Messer. Herron walks, Kone singled and Conine notched an RBI base knock to start the inning. Labosky followed with an RBI grounder prior to Smiciklas' second RBI single of the contest.
Herron drew three walks and scored three runs on the day, while Kone had three singles and score two runs. Smiciklas was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run as well.
“This team got better over the break,” Pollard said. “They were committed and they worked hard to get better. They came out and proved it today.”
Duke travels to Greenville, N.C., for a 6:30 p.m., first pitch at East Carolina Wednesday, May 10.